Types of gender identity: Types and definitions (2023)

Gender is different from sex. Although genetic factors typically define a person’s sex, gender refers to how they identify on the inside. Only the person themselves can determine what their gender identity is.

This article will discuss what gender identity is, some definitions of different gender identities, and where people can find support. It will also look at how gender exists on a spectrum.

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The term gender identity refers to the personal sense of an individual’s own gender.

Because a person’s sex and gender identity do not have to be the same, it is important to know the difference between them.

Gender

A person’s gender is how they identify internally and how they express this externally. People may use clothing, appearances, and behaviors to express the gender that they identify with.

The World Health Organization (WHO) note that gender is a social construction that people typically describe in terms of femininity and masculinity. In Western cultures, people associate femininity with women and masculinity with men, but this social construction varies across cultures.

However, gender is not neatly divided along the binary lines of “man” and “woman.”

Sex

A person’s sex is typically based on certain biological factors, such as their reproductive organs, genes, and hormones.

Like gender, sex is not binary. A person may have the genes that people may associate with being male or female, but their reproductive organs, genitals, or both may look different.

This is called differences in sex development. People may also refer to differences in sex development as intersex.

People typically use the terms “male,” “female,” or “intersex” to refer to a person’s sex.

Learn more about the difference between sex and gender here.

What is the history of gender identity?

(Video) Range of Gender Identities

The concepts and terms that refer to gender identity continually change, as our perceptions evolve.

The term “gender identity” first appeared in the 1960s. It referred to a person’s inner sense of belonging to the category of male or female. In time, the term came to include people who identify in other ways. It refers to a person’s own sense of their gender, regardless of the sex a doctor assigned to them at birth.

Some terms, such as “transsexual,” have also changed meaning over time. In the past, this term referred only to people who had undergone certain medical procedures, such as a mastectomy or phalloplasty. The meaning of this term has since broadened to include people moving toward or having a gender identity that is different from the one assigned to them at birth.

Other language has changed in terms of acceptability. The term “queer,” for example, was historically used as a slur against people who did not conform to expectations about gender expression or identity. Now, some people have reclaimed it. It can be acceptable in some circumstances but offensive if people use it inappropriately.

It is also important to note that gender identify may not fit into a category. Labels may help a person understand their identify, but gender identities are not always classifiable in these ways. As people come to perceive their gender identity in new ways, they may find that no single term defines it. Or, they may identify in several ways.

A person’s gender identity is not restricted to being either a man or a woman. Some people do not identify with any gender, while others identify with multiple genders.

According to The Trevor Project, a person’s gender can consist of the following.

Gender identity

This term refers to the personal sense of an individual’s own gender.

Some people identify as a man, while others identify as a woman. Others may identify as neither, both, or somewhere in-between.

Gender expression and presentation

This refers to how a person expresses themselves to others and how they want the world to see them.

A person may present themselves as wholly masculine or wholly feminine. Or, a person may present themselves as androgynous or nonbinary.

Gender expression and presentation involve aspects such as mannerisms, clothing styles, names, and pronoun choices, to name a few.

Here, learn more about gender pronouns.

The following are some gender identities and their definitions.

Agender

A person who is agender does not identify with any particular gender, or they may have no gender at all.

Other terms for this may include:

  • neutral gender
  • null-gender
  • genderless
  • neutrois

Androgyne

A person who identifies as androgyne has a gender that is either both masculine and feminine or between masculine and feminine.

Bigender

A person who identifies as bigender has two genders.

People who are bigender often display cultural masculine and feminine roles.

Butch

Women, especially lesbians, tend to use this term to describe the way they express masculinity, or what society defines as masculinity.

However, the LGBTQIA Resource Center state that “butch” can also be a gender identity in itself.

Cisgender

A cisgender person identifies with the sex that they were assigned at birth.

For example, a cisgender woman is someone who still identifies with the sex — female, in this case — a doctor assigned them at birth.

Gender expansive

The LGBTQIA Resource Center define gender expansive as an “umbrella term used for individuals who broaden their own culture’s commonly held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles, and/or other perceived gender norms.”

Those who are gender expansive include people who are transgender and people whose gender broadens the surrounding society’s notion of what gender is.

Genderfluid

A person who identifies as genderfluid has a gender identity and presentation that shifts between, or shifts outside of, society’s expectations of gender.

Gender outlaw

A person who identifies as a gender outlaw refuses to allow society’s definition of “male” or “female” to define them.

Genderqueer

A person who identifies as genderqueer has a gender identity or expression that is not the same as society’s expectations for their assigned sex or assumed gender.

Genderqueer can also refer to a person who identifies outside of how society defines gender or someone who identifies with a combination of genders.

(Video) What is a Woman? - Defining Gender Identity

Masculine of center

A person who uses this term is usually a lesbian or a trans person who leans more toward masculine performances and experiences of gender.

Nonbinary

A person who identifies as nonbinary does not experience gender within the gender binary.

People who are nonbinary may also experience overlap with different gender expressions, such as being gender non-conforming.

Omnigender

A person who identifies as omnigender experiences and possesses all genders.

Polygender and pangender

People who identify as polygender or pangender experience and display parts of multiple genders.

Transgender

This is an umbrella term that encompasses all people who experience and identify with a different gender than that which their assigned sex at birth would suggest.

Although most people think of trans men and trans women when hearing the word transgender, this term also encompasses people who identify as a gender other than man or woman, including nonbinary and genderfluid.

Trans

Trans is a more inclusive term that covers those who identify as nonbinary and those who are genderless, according to the LGBTQIA Resource Center.

Two Spirit

Two Spirit is an umbrella term that encompasses different sexualities and genders in Indigenous Native American communities.

There are many different definitions of Two Spirit, and Indigenous Native American people may or may not use this term to describe their experiences and feelings of masculinity and femininity.

This is a cultural term that is reserved for those who identify as an Indigenous Native American.

(Video) 10 Gender Identities Beyond Male And Female

Where can a person find support?

(Video) Sexual orientation and gender identity

Not everyone is accepting of people with diverse gender identities, which can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health.

However, there are multiple websites and online communities that people can turn to for support. These include:

Here are some questions that people might ask about gender identity.

How many gender identities are there?

There is no fixed number of gender identities. They occur on a spectrum, which really means that the possibilities are infinite. Each person might find that a certain point on the spectrum feels most comfortable and accurate, and this may change over time.

People do not know precisely what influences gender identity. Some genetic factors and factors that a person is born with may play a role.

What influences gender identity?

Various factors play a role, including socialization and our own choices. Gender roles and traits are dynamic, which means that they can change. Whether a healthcare professional identifies a baby as male or female at birth does not go on to define that person’s gender identity.

How can I know my gender identity?

The first step is to figure out what gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and sex assigned at birth mean and see how you feel about these ideas.

Then, think about the spectrum of gender identities and where you might feel comfortable. Maybe speak with friends of various gender identities for inspiration.

And keep in mind that there is no need for any specific label. You might want to go without a label or even create your own.

A person’s gender identity is not always the same as their biological sex, nor their assumed gender based on their assigned sex. It depends on how they identify as a person, and this can change over time.

(Video) Every Gender Defined & Their Flags

People can identify as more masculine, more feminine, a combination of both, or neither. How a person expresses or describes their gender is personal to them.

FAQs

What are the types of gender identity? ›

Transgender means your gender identity doesn't match up with the sex you were assigned at birth. Agender means you don't identify with any gender. Gender non-conforming, non-binary, and gender fluid means you don't identify fully as a man or a boy (male, masculine) or a woman or a girl (female, feminine).

What are the 7 types of gender? ›

Through these conversations with real people Benestad has observed seven unique genders: Female, Male, Intersex, Trans, Non-Conforming, Personal, and Eunuch.

What are four types of gender identity? ›

There are many different gender identities, including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

What are the 76 gender pronouns? ›

Gender-neutral Pronouns, and How to Use Them
  • He/She -- Zie, Sie, Ey, Ve, Tey, E.
  • Him/Her -- Zim, Sie, Em, Ver, Ter, Em.
  • His/Her -- Zir, Hir, Eir, Vis, Tem, Eir.
  • His/Hers -- Zis, Hirs, Eirs, Vers, Ters, Eirs.
  • Himself/Herself -- Zieself, Hirself, Eirself, Verself, Terself, Emself.
28 Sept 2018

What are the 9 gender identities? ›

Gender Identity Terms
  • Agender. Not having a gender or identifying with a gender. ...
  • Bigender. A person who fluctuates between traditionally “male” and “female” gender-based behaviours and identities.
  • Cisgender. ...
  • Gender Expression. ...
  • Gender Fluid. ...
  • Genderqueer. ...
  • Gender Variant. ...
  • Mx.

What is your gender identity? ›

Gender identity is each person's internal and individual experience of gender. It is a person's sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person's gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex.

What factors affect gender identity? ›

Factors that Influence Gender Identity

Biological factors that may influence gender identity include pre- and post-natal hormone levels and genetic makeup. Social factors include ideas regarding gender roles conveyed by family, authority figures, mass media, and other influential people in a child's life.

What is Lgbtqia+ stand for? ›

How many genders are there psychology? ›

Quantifying genders

As indicated, there are binary and non-binary genders. Binary being male or female and non-binary being others which don't follow the binary convention. So, you could say there are three genders, but that is oversimplified.

How many human sexes are there? ›

Based on the sole criterion of production of reproductive cells, there are two and only two sexes: the female sex, capable of producing large gametes (ovules), and the male sex, which produces small gametes (spermatozoa).

What gender am I if I use all pronouns? ›

Pronouns commonly have a gendered association, however, anyone of any gender can use any pronouns that fit for them. Everyone has pronouns, not just transgender, nonbinary, or intersex people. Keep in mind that some people may use more than one set of pronouns to refer to themselves (e.g., 'she/her' and 'they/them').

What can I use instead of he she? ›

Instead of "he/she," "him/her," "his/her," "his/hers," and "himself/herself" it would be: "ey," "em," "eir," "eirs," and "eirself", or. "zie," "zim," "zir," "zirs," and "zirself"

How is gender identity formed? ›

Gender identity, in nearly all instances, is self-identified, as a result of a combination of inherent and extrinsic or environmental factors; gender role, on the other hand, is manifested within society by observable factors such as behavior and appearance.

What is 3rd gender called? ›

Often called transgender by outsiders, Indian society and most hijras consider themselves to be third gender—neither male nor female, not transitioning. They are a different gender altogether.

When did cisgender become a thing? ›

The word cisgender is the antonym of transgender. The prefix cis- is Latin and means on this side of. The term cisgender was coined in 1994 and entered into dictionaries starting in 2015 as a result of societal changes in the way gender is conceived and discussed.

Is agender a gender? ›

Agender (adj.) is not having a gender or a “lack of” a gender. Agender people see themselves as neither a man nor a woman, or both. They're gender-neutral and often are described as genderfree or genderless.

How many genders are there Wikipedia? ›

Most cultures use a gender binary, in which gender is divided into two categories, and people are considered part of one or the other (boys/men and girls/women); those who exist outside these groups may fall under the umbrella term non-binary.

What is a Demiboy? ›

Likewise a demiboy is a person who feels their gender identity partially identifies with a masculine identity but is not wholly binary. Like a demigirl, a demiboy may identify this way regardless of their assigned gender. A demigirl and demiboy fall under the trans umbrella.

What is the importance of gender identity? ›

Gender is of key importance in defining the power, privilege and possibilities that some people have and some people do not have in a given society. It affects progress towards equality and freedom from discrimination.

What is an example of gender? ›

Gender is something we express (gender expression), sometimes intentionally, and sometimes without thinking. We communicate our gender in a number of ways, for example by the way we dress, the way we move, our hair style, and the way we interact with others21.

How do I know if I'm non-binary? ›

What does it mean when a person is nonbinary? Being nonbinary is identifying gender as not 100% male or 100% female. Someone who has a nonbinary gender could describe themselves as having no gender, multiple genders, a masculine or feminine gender, or any other gender that is not fully male or fully female.

What factors affect gender identity? ›

Factors that Influence Gender Identity

Biological factors that may influence gender identity include pre- and post-natal hormone levels and genetic makeup. Social factors include ideas regarding gender roles conveyed by family, authority figures, mass media, and other influential people in a child's life.

How many genders are there psychology? ›

Quantifying genders

As indicated, there are binary and non-binary genders. Binary being male or female and non-binary being others which don't follow the binary convention. So, you could say there are three genders, but that is oversimplified.

What is Lgbtqia+ stand for? ›

Is agender a gender? ›

Agender (adj.) is not having a gender or a “lack of” a gender. Agender people see themselves as neither a man nor a woman, or both. They're gender-neutral and often are described as genderfree or genderless.

What is the importance of gender identity? ›

Gender is of key importance in defining the power, privilege and possibilities that some people have and some people do not have in a given society. It affects progress towards equality and freedom from discrimination.

How does gender identity develop? ›

Gender identity typically develops in stages: Around age two: Children become conscious of the physical differences between boys and girls. Before their third birthday: Most children can easily label themselves as either a boy or a girl. By age four: Most children have a stable sense of their gender identity.

What age does gender identity develop? ›

Most children between ages 18 and 24 months can recognize and label gender groups. They may identify others as girls, women or feminine. Or they may label others as boys, men or masculine. Most also label their own gender by the time they reach age 3.

Is gender identity biological or psychological? ›

Gender identity describes the individual's own psychological perception of being male, female, neither, both, or somewhere in between. Although a person's gender identity is usually consistent with their biological sex, it does not have to be.

What does gender mean in sociology? ›

Gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed. This includes norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl or boy, as well as relationships with each other. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time.

How do psychologists define gender? ›

In a human context, the distinction between gender and sex reflects the usage of these terms: Sex usually refers to the biological aspects of maleness or femaleness, whereas gender implies the psychological, behavioral, social, and cultural aspects of being male or female (i.e., masculinity or femininity). 2.

What is a 2 spirited person? ›

Traditionally, Native American two-spirit people were male, female, and sometimes intersexed individuals who combined activities of both men and women with traits unique to their status as two-spirit people. In most tribes, they were considered neither men nor women; they occupied a distinct, alternative gender status.

What does a rainbow flag represent? ›

Inspired by the classic song "Over the Rainbow" from the 1939 film The Wizard from Oz, Baker created a rainbow flag to represent LGBTQ folks. Each color in the flag also had a specific meaning. The 6-Color Pride Flag is one of the most well-known and used LGBT flags throughout history.

What's the circle in the pride flag? ›

The purple circle represents the wholeness of the intersex community free from colors like blue and pink that are commonly seen as male and female, respectfully.

What is a Demiboy? ›

Likewise a demiboy is a person who feels their gender identity partially identifies with a masculine identity but is not wholly binary. Like a demigirl, a demiboy may identify this way regardless of their assigned gender. A demigirl and demiboy fall under the trans umbrella.

What is androgynous girl? ›

Androgynous/Androgny

The term androgynous is an adjective and is used to describe someone who is "neither specifically feminine nor masculine" and has "characteristics or nature of both male and female."1.

What gender am I if I use all pronouns? ›

Pronouns commonly have a gendered association, however, anyone of any gender can use any pronouns that fit for them. Everyone has pronouns, not just transgender, nonbinary, or intersex people. Keep in mind that some people may use more than one set of pronouns to refer to themselves (e.g., 'she/her' and 'they/them').

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